Surg Endosc. 2023 Sep 18. doi: 10.1007/s00464-023-10399-x. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Robotics has been used safely and successfully in a variety of adult surgeries and is gradually gaining ground in pediatrics. While the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery in disease treatment are well recognized, its high cost has led to questions. To investigate whether robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery (RALS) is cost-effective compared to conventional laparoscopic surgery (LS) in pediatric surgery, we attempted to construct a model to perform an analysis of these two surgical approaches using Python statistical analysis software.
METHODS: We selected four common complex pediatric surgical conditions (choledochal cyst, Hirschsprung’s disease, vesicoureteral reflux, and congenital hydronephrosis) from three systems (pediatric hepatobiliary, gastroenterology, and urology). Models were constructed using Python statistical software to compare hospital costs and surgical outcomes for RALS and LS. In addition, we performed a preferred strategy analysis for both surgical modalities while assessing model uncertainty using one-way sensitivity analysis.
RESULTS: For the four diseases, the operative time decreased sequentially. The total inpatient costs of RALS were 10,816.72, 9145.44, 8414.29, 7973.58 dollars, respectively, yielding 1.789, 1.712, 1.749, 1.792 quality adjustment life years (QALYs) over two years post-operatively. The incremental cost of RALS relative to LS for each disease was 3523.44, 3200.20, 3049.79, 3043.66 dollars, respectively, with an incremental utility of 0.060, 0.054, 0.051, 0.050 QALYs. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) for RALS for each of the four diseases were 58,724.01, 59,262.95, 59,799.79, 60,873.20 dollars/QALY, all less than 100,000 dollars/QALY. The cost of robot consumables was the main incremental cost of RALS and had the most significant impact on the model.
CONCLUSION: For the four pediatric surgical conditions described above, RALS has higher inpatient costs than LS, but it has better postoperative outcomes, and all four RALS treatments are cost-effective. Children with complex diseases and long operative times appear to benefit more from RALS.